I have heard many a mom describe her vision of the parent she wanted to be as “rosy, perfect, the kitchen overflowing with bowls of ripe organic fruits, poop never accidentally decorating my shirt, time to shower every day…”
However, reality eventually sets in and the only time you seem to be able to find those amazing, beautiful, and transformative moments generally take place when you are on the toilet by yourself!
The same is true for most Dads as well, I’m sure.
This is absolutely normal because you do your best, and just as long as you have your vision, your passion, your love, and this collection of pointers and suggestions to always pick up and look over anytime, you can always be the parent you want to be.
Believe in the Magic
The magic in becoming the parent you want to be is just to believe that you are he or she! Believe in yourself and see life with the eyes of your heart. When you do that, you have magic, and you can make anything happen. You see something beautiful and magical in everything. And that, as a matter of fact, is just the way your children see life!
Setting the Example
This is just what you worry about doing. Don’t worry, be happy, and don’t yell…so much. Think about building an atmosphere, a home of harmony. And most of all, give yourself credit and commendations each day, even if it is just for getting through each day. You do your best, and the rest waits until tomorrow, and when all else fails, just go with the flow.
Trade the “Maybes” for the “I Wills”
How you frame what you want in words does lead to what will take place. If you say, maybe I will find a way to plan some family things this week, maybe I’ll try to get in the frame of mind to sit and enjoy a family dinner…maybe, maybe. All that means is “maybe you will, but maybe and probably you won’t. Just change it all to “I will,” instead, and that gives you the inspiration to do your best, to make that commitment to yourself and to your family just the way you want to.
Most family challenges can be met with good communication, talking about things verbally and also using positive and loving nonverbal communication– touching, good posture, eye contact, tone of voice—all go into it.
Communication is about the other person, so when you speak to your kids, get down to their diminutive level instead of towering over them. Look them in the eye, hug, be close. Best of all, smile, and say a kind word. A kind word can change a child or an adult’s whole body chemistry, lift a mood, bolster, or add to a self-image.
Practice “active listening” and listen carefully to what your child or spouse is saying. This is a skill everyone can learn more about and improve. Pay close attention without having your mind wander away to that work problem, or to do list not yet done. It’s a good rule to repeat what your child or spouse said to you, so they know you were listening, or ask a question about what they said. And even though you have a lot to do, and are always multi-tasking, and you CAN listen, while working, doing the dishes, washing the dog, or scrubbing the toilet… turn around and look your spouse in the eye, and let them know that even for just that moment, they have all or your attention and are all that matters in the world… it will be greatly appreciated!
Never Go to Bed Mad
You’ve heard this one before, but more than that, try to make a tradition, a ritual of bedtime with the family. It should include cuddle time, some quiet time for reading or other winding down and calming moments. But don’t forget your spouse either, because part of being the parent you want to be is sharing and growing a parent bond with your spouse. Being on the same page with your attitudes and values, making your daily and weekly family plans, and finding time to just be with each other. Being the parent you want to be is about all the little things that happen to you throughout the day. You don’t have to wait for it, go to school for it, get any kind of certification for it because it is those adorable moments with your children and those romantic times with your spouse that gets you what really counts.
They May Not Be the Best, but, They Are Yours
A great military general once said, “You go to war not with army you want, but with the army you have.” Maybe families are just like that, maybe you don’t have the “perfect” little kids or the “ideal” spouse, but they are the ones you have, and that is what makes them special. So treasure every moment. Live, love, laugh with your family — warts and all — and you will all be the very best family you can be, now and for generations to come.